After waiting through an entire weekend's worth of games for the season opener, Philadelphia Eagles fans no doubt are pumped about the short week ahead. Philadelphia springs right back into action Sunday at 1 p.m. ET—just six days removed from a 33-27 victory over the Washington Redskins—hosting the San Diego Chargers at Lincoln Financial Field for the first time in 2013.
Below, we examine where the NFC East stands, what the Birds' upcoming opponent has been up to, where head coach Chip Kelly's squad can improve and much more heading into the club's next encounter.
Here are the standings after Week 1 action, along with some preliminary observations about the state of the division.
|Philadelphia Eagles||1-0||vs. San Diego Chargers|
|Dallas Cowboys||1-0||@ Kansas City Chiefs|
|New York Giants||0-1||vs. Denver Broncos|
|Washington Redskins||0-1||@ Green Bay Packers|
Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
As impressive as the Eagles offense was in Chip Kelly's debut, Washington played itself out of that game. The Redskins managed just 75 yards and three first downs in the first half while turning the ball over twice and eating a safety.
It's probably safe to say Philadelphia will rack up big numbers in most offensive categories this season, but we'll find out how that translates to the win column. I need to see it against a tougher test than that.
Dallas Cowboys (1-0)
The fact that Dallas won a one-possession game with two defensive scores and a turnover margin of plus-five on Sunday Night Football should speak volumes.
Tony Romo is a gamer and gives the Cowboys a chance to win every week, but the rest of that organization makes things so difficult on him. X-rays on the quarterback's ribs were negative (meaning positive), and as long as the three-time Pro Bowler is under center, Big D will remain in the thick of the playoff hunt.
New York Giants (0-1)
On the other hand, Eli Manning could become even more dangerous under center with Rueben Randle as an emerging threat. The 2011 second-round pick had five receptions for a career-best 101 yards in the losing effort at Dallas on Sunday night. Just one more reason you can never count the Giants out.
Washington Redskins (0-1)
Concerning performance from Robert Griffin III on Monday Night Football. RG3 was inaccurate and hardly a threat to run with the football. The quarterback's ineffectiveness made the offense one-dimensional, which allowed the Eagles to stack the box and shut down Alfred Morris.
Washington goes as Griffin does, so how long until the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year gets back on track?
Week 2 Opponent
San Diego Chargers (0-1)
The Bolts must travel across the country on a short week after blowing a 28-7 lead to lose to the Houston Texans on national television. Oh, and it will be the Eagles' home opener.
Philadelphia opened as 7.5-point favorites, and some oddsmakers have already moved to 9.0. I'm not so convinced it will be that easy, but the home team sure has a lot going for it—like that insane offense that snaps the ball roughly every 4.5 seconds.
Eagles cornerback Bradley Fletcher does not seem likely for Sunday's game after sustaining a concussion this week, per Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk. Fletcher quietly had a very good night against the Redskins, recording seven tackles. If the fifth-year veteran can't go, Brandon Boykin will take his place.
Boykin grabbed an interception in the Birds' win, already building off of a solid rookie year and offseason. Should his number get called, he'll no doubt be ready.
Philly is thin at cornerback, however. The front office just re-signed Brandon Hughes after cutting him last week, per Josh Alper, but he's been shelved the last month or so with a dislocated hand. Meanwhile, seventh-round rookie Jordan Poyer appeared to be overmatched in his first NFL action.
Apparently, the Chargers made it out of Monday night with no new serious injuries—minus to the locker room's psyche.
What Must Improve (Chip Kelly Edition)
In honor of Chip Kelly's epic debut, our weekly edition of What Must Improve is dedicated to the head coach.
1. Finish What You Started
Kelly more or less admitted at his postgame press conference that the Eagles might have taken their foot off the accelerator just a tad early. Maybe it didn't seem like it at the time, but the result was very much in question once Washington pulled within six points with one minute, 20 seconds of play left in the game.
There are going to be times when the offense will want to pump the brakes or the defense should switch to a prevent. Two minutes into the fourth quarter isn't one of them. All it took was one unfortunate turnover—a fumble by Jason Avant—to breathe some life into its opponent.
Philadelphia dominated the Redskins, although you wouldn't know it looking at the final score. That's on coaching.
2. Conserve Your Energy
My initial thought while LeSean McCoy was busy lodging a career-high 31 carries on Monday was, "This team is gonna need more running backs."
Toward the end of the game, Shady looked worn down like a rubber eraser at the SATs. Kelly couldn't trust Bryce Brown to salt the clock away for obvious reasons (fumbling issue), and third-string running back Chris Polk didn't carry the ball once. For an offense that runs 77 plays from scrimmage, that's a huge load for just two backs.
Michael Vick was noticeably hobbled as well in the fourth quarter. These two players in particular are handling the ball way too much, assuming Kelly expects them to last 16 games.
3. Are You Challenged
Kelly threw two challenge flags in his head coaching debut. Neither play was especially close, and he lost both. I understand the NFL conducts so many reviews on its own, it almost devalues the coach's challenge, but that doesn't mean he should throw them away, either.
Stats of the Week
Eagles avg. starting field position was their 39-yd line. Redskins avg. was their 20-yard line.— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) September 10, 2013
In 2012, Eagles punters pinned the opponent inside its own 20-yard line 15 times out of 77 tries, or 19.5 percent of the time. In Week 1 against Washington, Donnie Jones pinned the Redskins inside their own 20 four times out of six, or 66.7 percent of the time.
Quote of the Week
Per Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com:
DeSean Jackson: "Alot of teams better get in shape." Said the #Eagles won't be slowing down.— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) September 10, 2013